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Jay-Z and the Beatles: Together again

September 16, 2009 | 12:19 pm


Are we staring into the blueprint for a Jay-Z-Paul McCartney-Ringo Starr trio performance on a future  Grammy Awards show?

The rapper and the Beatles are once again intertwined on the national sales charts this week, Jay-Z debuting at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top 200 with “The Blueprint 3,” with sales of 476,000 copies. With his 11th No. 1 album on the Top 200, Jay-Z is now the solo act with the most No. 1 albums, breaking a tie with Elvis Presley that he established when “American Gangster” made it to the top in 2007. The only act with more No. 1s? The Beatles, whose 1968 double LP known as “The White Album” was a reference point for the title of the rapper's 2003 set, “The Black Album.” (For those of you with scorecards, that was the one billed as his final release before he went into retirement.)

During the same week that a committedly unretired Jay-Z moved ahead of Presley, all 13 of the Beatles'  original studio releases landed in the Top 20 of Billboard’s Top Pop Catalog Albums listing of works that originally came out at least 18 months ago. They sold 626,000 copies of the remastered albums; that five-day total tops 1 million when the individual albums within two box sets are factored in.

“The Beatles in Stereo” box set -- a 14-album, 16-CD collection listing for $260 -- sold almost 26,000 copies. “The Beatles in Mono,”  an 11-album, 13-CD set listing for $300, sold nearly 12,000 copies from the release date of Sept. 9 through Sunday, the end of the sales monitoring period tallied by Nielsen SoundScan. Adding the individual titles contained in each box set, the Beatles sold nearly 1.1 million CDs last week.

On Billboard’s Top Comprehensive Albums list, which combines current and catalog releases, the Fab Four placed five albums inside the Top 10, with “Abbey Road's” sales of 89,000 copies the highest, putting the 1969 album at No. 3 behind “The Blueprint 3” and Miley Cyrus’ “The Time of Our Lives,” which sold 120,000 units last week.

The Beatles’ other Top 10 Comprehensive list entries are “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (74,000, No. 5), “The Beatles” (a.k.a. the White Album, 60,000, No. 7), “Rubber Soul” (58,000, No. 8) and “Revolver” (46,000, No. 10). Meanwhile, because the box sets constitute new titles, "The Beatles in Stereo" appears on the Billboard Top 200 chart at No. 15, while "The Beatles in Mono" lands at No. 40.

-- Randy Lewis

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Photo: Jay-Z. Credit: Getty Images